Friday Update 3-15-19

Greetings faithful readers. Let’s start this edition of Friday Update off with a shoutout to Network faithful “Spiderwoman.” Let’s enjoy one of her favorite bands, The Monkees (who doesn’t love The Monkees?) and her favorite band member, Peter Tork, as the band plays his tune “For Pete’s Sake.” Get your Monkees on and then get to readin’ Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most important reads for this week

A Prevention Valentine in Honor of Parkland: There is Solid Practical Science to Prevent School Violence
Make sure you take a moment to read Dennis Embry’s Morning Zen post from last month in honor of the first anniversary of the Parkland shootings. The tools to change the developmental trajectory from first grade through the early twenties—reducing and even preventing lifetime aggressive, bullying and violent behavior, are right in front of us – and have been for decades. We just need to use them.

Is Email Making Professors Stupid?
It used to simplify crucial tasks. Now it’s strangling scholars’ ability to think.
I just returned from the 32nd Annual Research and Policy Conference, and while there, I shared my thoughts on this article with a few academics who are way smarter than me. Is the academic community facing a crisis in the ability of people in positions of leadership to be able to engage in meaningful critical thinking? Is e-mail the culprit? A most interesting read!

A Middle School Tackles Everybody’s Trauma and the Result Is Calmer, Happier Kids, Teachers and a Big Drop in Suspensions
During the 2014/2015 school year, things were looking grim at Park Middle School in Antioch, CA. At the time, staff couldn’t corral student disruptions. Teacher morale was plummeting. By the end of February 2015, 192 kids of the 997 students had been suspended — 19.2 percent of the student population. “I was watching really good people burning out from the [teaching] profession and suspending kids over and over, and nothing was changing behavior-wise, and teachers were not happy about it,” says John Jimno, who was in his second year as principal at that time. So, Jimno and the staff took advantage of a program that Contra Costa County was integrating into its Youth Justice Initiative. In doing so, they joined a national trauma-informed school movement that has seen hundreds of schools across the country essentially replace a “What’s wrong with you?” approach to dealing with kids who are having troubles with asking kids, “What happened to you?”, and then providing them help.

Grants for Expansion and Sustainability of the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children with Serious Emotional Disturbances
Hot tamales, SAMHSA has released a funding announcement for a new round of System of Care (SOC) Expansion and Sustainability Grants. The purpose of this program is to improve the mental health outcomes for children and youth, birth through age 21, with serious emotional disturbance (SED), and their families. This program will support the implementation, expansion, and integration of the SOC approach by creating sustainable infrastructure and services that are required as part of the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and their Families Program (also known as the Children’s Mental Health Initiative or CMHI). Get the details here, and get to writin’!

New TFAH Report: Promoting Health and Cost Control:How States Can Improve Community Health and Well-being Through Policy Change
Trust for America’s Health’s (TFAH) new report, Promoting Health and Cost Control: How States Can Improve Community Health and Well-being Through Policy Change highlights 13 policies, all outside the healthcare sector, that if adopted by states can improve the health and well-being of their residents.

Jonathon Drake Memorial Fund Established to Support Exemplary Practice
The mental health community lost a champion with the passing of Jonathon Drake this past June. As a Project Director at the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability, Jonathon worked as a RENEW Trainer, Wraparound Coach, and direct support professional. His outstanding efforts to sustain system-level change and to promote positive opportunities for youth through his trainings for school faculties and mental health agency staff have been lauded by Senator Maggie Hassan, Youth M.O.V.E. New Hampshire, the National Wraparound Initiative, and the National Center for School Mental Health. Family and colleagues have put together a unique way to honor Jonathon and his legacy by establishing a memorial fund to “support exemplary practice at the individual, school, community and systems levels so that all youth – especially those who face significant personal and emotional and/or behavioral challenges – can thrive.” The Jonathon Drake Memorial Fund is an assurance that Jonathon’s legacy and important lifework will continue in perpetuity. If you knew Jonathan, be sure to read this touching tribute by Eric Bruns.

New Online Training Resources on Working with Youth in Transition
Pathways Transition Training Partnership has launched five new 5-7 minute video briefs on key concepts and skills for working with transition-aged youth and young adults. Each video brief is accompanied by discussion questions and links to resources for further learning. The new video briefs focus on working with Native American youth, working with LGBTQ youth, supporting young people as they form adult relationships, collaborating with peer support providers, and supporting youth advocacy.

Transforming Pediatrics to Support Population Health: Recommendations for Practice Changes and How to Pay for Them
A new report and accompanying policy brief make the case for redesigning pediatric primary care to play a broader role in the health and well-being of families and their children and outline the principles for changing how the care is funded. The report was released by the Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut and the Connecticut Health Foundation, with recommendations that emerged from a study group they convened of experts, including providers, payers, foundations, policymakers, and parent advocates. And, if you were one of the lucky Tampa Conference attends who participated in CHDI’s pre-conference session, well dang, I hope you got autographs, cuz they are gettin’ famous!

The Coming Care Crisis as Kids With Autism Grow Up
Although people with autism have always existed, the United States saw a tremendous spike in diagnoses beginning in the late 1990s, due in part to increased public awareness of the disorder and improvements in evaluation. About one in every 59 children is diagnosed with autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up from one in every 150 in 2000. About half a million people on the autism spectrum will legally become adults over the next decade, a swelling tide for which the country is unprepared.

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About the Author

Scott Bryant-Comstock

With a rich history of over 30 years involvement in state and local communities as a practitioner, trainer, state government official and a national reviewer of systems reform efforts, Scott Bryant-Comstock has built a solid reputation as a facilitator of family, professional, advocacy and political involvement in mental health system reform efforts. Throughout his career, Scott has incorporated learnings from policy-makers, families, providers and community leaders throughout the United States into a focused approach to improving services and supports for youth with emotional challenges and their families. Scott is the founder, President & CEO of the Children’s Mental Health Network.

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